Vernon Manor

Vernon Manor

The Vernon Manor is a former hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio that had a reputation for being “the place to stay” for traveling musicians. It has since been renovated into offices for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.






History

Completed in 1924 at a cost of $1.5 million, the Vernon Manor was modeled after the Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, England. 10 The seven-story hotel featured 177 rooms and several apartments. 3 7

The Vernon was facing the possibility of bankruptcy in 1934 10 and was in a dilapidated state by the 1940s. Walter Schott, a local car dealer, purchased the hotel in 1945 and renovated it. The hotel developed a reputation under Schott’s ownership for hosting traveling musicians, including The Beetles, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, 1 and politicians, including Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. 2

By the 1970s, the hotel had become a single-rent occupancy facility. 10 Most of the occupants were permanent, low-income residents, and the building languished until it was acquired by the Belvedere Corporation in 1986. 1 Belvedere renovated the property in 1999, constructing a new lobby, fitness room, and two business centers, and expanding the restaurant and bar. 8

Due to low occupancy, Belvedere closed the Vernon Manor on March 31, 2009. 1

Redevelopment

Early redevelopment proposals from September 2009 called for the hotel to be converted into 100 low-income apartments by the Wallick Hendy Development Company. 3 4 The Belvedere would either sell the building or keep partial ownership. Neighborhood leaders questioned whether extra low-income housing would be best for an area oversaturated with such housing.

In early October, Al Neyer Inc. proposed to convert the hotel into an office building for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. 4 The $35 million to $38 million project called for Children’s to be the building’s singular occupant for up to 17 years. 4 11 A $10.5 million, 440-car parking structure would be erected adjacent to the building. 6 Children’s, in return, would relocate up to 600 employees to the building. 5

Financing would be derived from state historic tax credits, federal New Markets tax credits, tax increment financing, and loans. 4

The Cincinnati City Council voted in favor of an aid package for the sale of the Vernon Manor on December 16. 5 The city’s Economic Development Department had been working with Neyer on a financial assistance package. The first ordinance considered would allow the city to spend funds from the Corryville tax increment financing district to acquire property for $10.4 million for the parking structure. 6 A second ordinance would permit a 25-year lease and management accord to Neyer for the garage. After the agreement terminated, control of the garage would revert to the developer. The Build Cincinnati Development Fund later received $4.5 million towards the project from the Ohio Enterprise Bond Fund 11 and $3 million from an urban redevelopment loan. 13

A liquidation sale of the hotel’s contents began in mid-February 2010. 9 Renovations of the Vernon Manor began April 12 and work was completed on June 23, 2011. 11







Further Reading


Sources

  1. “Vernon Manor to close.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 13 March 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
  2. Monk, Dan. “Owner: Vernon Manor should be adapted for new uses.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 8 May 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
  3. Monk, Dan. “Low-income housing could be Cincinnati’s Vernon Manor’s future.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 4 Sept. 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
  4. Monk, Dan. “Al Neyer Inc. wants to redevelop Cincinnati’s historic Vernon Manor hotel.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 9 Oct. 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
  5. Brownfield, Andy. “Cincinnati City Council to vote on Vernon Manor purchase.” Business Courier of Cincinnati 15 Dec. 2009. 16 Dec. 2009.
  6. Lemaster, Kevin. “Two ordinances could lead to 440-space Vernon Manor garage.” Building Cincinnati 16 Dec. 2009. 16 Dec. 2009 Article.
  7. “History.” Vernon Manor Hotel. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2009. Article.
  8. “Renovation.” Vernon Manor Hotel. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2009. Article.
  9. Bernard-Kuhn, Lisa. “Historic Vernon Manor contents for sale.” Cincinnati Enquirer 17 Feb. 2010. 1 March 2010.
  10. Giglierano, Geoffrey J., Deborah A. Overmyer, and Frederic L. Propas. “Vernon Manor Hotel.” The Bicentennial Guide to Greater Cincinnati: A Portrait of Two Hundred Years. Cincinnati: Cincinnati Historical Society, 1998. 180. Print.
  11. “Vernon Manor reopening this week.” Business Courier [Cincinnati] 22 June 2011: n.p. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.
  12. “Work starts on Vernon Manor redo.” Business Courier [Cincinnati] 14 Aor. 2010: n.p. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.
  13. “Vernon Manor project wins $4.5M in state funding.” Business Courier [Cincinnati] 10 Mar. 2010: n.p. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.

11 Comments

  1. I stayed at the Vernon Manor with my wife shortly after we were married and just before they closed and had lunch with co-workers there from a previous nearby job. I now work for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and am frequently in the Vernon Manor. While the inside doesn’t have the older charm that it did, I couldn’t think of a better organization to occupy the space. Cincinnati Children’s also occupies a large portion of the Historic Ford Factory just a few blocks away. I’ll be moving into the all new building currently going up behind Vernon Manor.

  2. My grandparents lived at the Vernon Manor as well and my sister and I visited often. One of the biggest kicks we got was watching letters drop down the glass mail chute. The elvator operator’s name was Adelaide and she really was very lovely.

  3. My grandmother lived at Vernon Manor after my grandfather’s death in the early 50’s. She lived there until her passing in 1968. I loved visiting her as a young girl, and especially liked going down to the coffee shop. Apparently there were banquet rooms on the ground floor because one evening extremely well dressed people streamed by. Lots of minks and diamonds. As an unsophisticated little girl from Florida, I’m sure I stared. One of my fondest memories was of the lovely elevator operator. I don’t remember her name, but do remember that she walked with a limp. The history may be sad, but the memories of Vernon Manor are happy.

  4. I have such fond memories of the Vernon Manor. I was the Director of Sales in early 70’s. Met lots of stars and important folks. As far as I know, I had the first KY Derby Party in a Cincy establishment while I was there. During my tenure, Chuck Tempfer was the GM and we worked for Frank Homan and his wife. I can’t recall her first name now, but she was related to Marge Schott. Chuck came from Tennessee with his good friend Lafayette, they were very good to me while I was there. After they left, things just were never the same.

    I love the history of Cincy and the historic bldgs still there. I cried when the VM was converted in offices. I have a friend who works for Childrens’ who is going to take me up to see what it looks like now. Not sure I want to see it.

    1. I worked there in the kitchen and as a waiter in the 70s, very nice people and some great old residents kept us entertained and busy. Lafayette was great..

  5. I was an employee of Joel Freeman in the early 70's when Freemen & Assoc. Advertising had their offices in the lower level of the hotel. Great memories, sorry to see it go.

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